Apple wasn’t the first to bring facial recognition features to a mobile phone, but the iPhone X may be the first smartphone whose facial recognition system can’t be hacked with a photo. That’s because the handset packs a front camera system that features sensors to measure the depth of a field. A 2D image alone should not trigger any Face ID unlocks.
Facebook, meanwhile, is working on its own facial recognition feature. It won’t be as sophisticated as Face ID. But it may have just one purpose for the time being.
To enable a Face ID-like system, you need the same cameras and sensors present in the iPhone X’s TrueDepth camera. That means you need to control the hardware.
Facebook’s facial recognition will work differently. Rather than letting you log into Facebook, Messenger, and other properties, it can only be used to secure your account in case of a breach.
NEW! Facebook working on a facial recognition feature to help secure your account
h/t Devesh Logendran pic.twitter.com/demol4dKj1
— Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) September 29, 2017
“We are testing a new feature for people who want to quickly and easily verify account ownership during the account recovery process,” Facebook told TechCrunch. “This optional feature is available only on devices you’ve already used to log in. It is another step, alongside two-factor authentication via SMS, that were taking to make sure account owners can confirm their identity.”
As you can see, the feature will only be available on devices that you already used for Facebook. Facebook doesn’t explain the facial recognition system technology that it’s currently using. But there’s probably a reason why the feature has limited functionality.
First of all, you’re probably logged into Facebook most of the time, so you don’t need to enter your password as often. Therefore, using a Face ID-like unlock wouldn’t be necessary.
Secondly, it’s likely that people with access to your pictures could try to hack their way into your account using a photo in case face-based authentication would be a Facebook thing.
That said, you’d better hope you never have to use your face to log back into Facebook. Because if you do, it means someone was able to hack your account, and your other online properties may be in danger, especially the ones you use Facebook for.